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These 5 Rifles Will Turn Any Solider Into a Killing Machine

These 5 Rifles Will Turn Any Solider Into a Killing Machine

Kyle Mizokami


What you want before you go to war.

Key point: Warfare in the post-9/11 period is primarily infantry-focused.

Warfare in the post-9/11 period is primarily infantry-focused, with ground troops taking part in small-unit actions against insurgents and guerrillas. Fought on a wide variety of terrain, from arid desert regions to jungles and even cities, infantrymen have relied on their service rifles to get the mission done. Here are five of the best weapons, and how the wars of the twenty-first century changed them.

M4 Carbine:

Originally developed by Colt to fulfill a contract for the UAE, the M4 carbine was later accepted into U.S. Army and Marine Corps service. The M4 carbine is very similar to the M16A2 assault rifle, but features a shorter 14.5-inch barrel as opposed to the twenty-inch barrel of the M16. Like the M16A2, the M4 carbine fires the 5.56-millimeter round from a thirty-round magazine and has both semiautomatic and three-round-burst modes. Recently, as a result of battlefield experience with the M4, the U.S. Army decided to upgrade the weapons to the M4A1 standard. The -A1 carbines have thicker barrels for accuracy retention during sustained fire, an improved trigger, ambidextrous safety controls and the ability to fire on full automatic.

SA80A2 Rifle:

The primary service weapon of the UK’s Army, Navy and Air Force, the SA80 assault rifle was first fielded in the 1980s as a replacement for the L1A1 battle rifle. The rifle is a bullpup-configuration weapon, with the magazine and action positioned behind the trigger group. This allows for a more compact weapon system. Like the M4A1, the SA80A2 fires the 5.56-millimeter round and can accept the same magazine. Unlike the American carbine, the British one uses a short-stroke gas-piston system. In 2002, the weapons were upgraded to address a variety of shortcomings, including a modified bolt, extractor and hammer assembly, vastly increasing weapon reliability. In addition to the UK forces the SA80 has been sold to a number of Commonwealth countries, but overseas sales largely never materialized.


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